Hospitality industry honours “Scotland’s perfect culinary ambassador”

Andrew Fairlie, with award
Scotland’s only double Michelin Star holder has been honoured by Scotland’s hospitality and catering sector as the country’s “perfect culinary ambassador” at awards in which his long-standing protégé was named Chef of the Year.

Andrew Fairlie, who runs his eponymous restaurant at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, was presented with the Lifetime Excellence Award at last night’s Catering Scotland (CIS) Excellence Awards in Glasgow attended by over 500 of Scotland’s leading hoteliers, chefs and caterers. The presentation took place by video as he was unable to attend the event. 

“Andrew’s achievements at Gleneagles have been remarkable but his contributions to the industry have ranged far beyond them,” said CIS Advisory Board chairman Neil Thomson.

“He has raised the country’s food profile, been a true champion for Scotland and been our perfect culinary ambassador with commitment, skills and enthusiasm that have won him the highest respect,” he added. “Andrew has also nurtured young chefs and set personal and professional standards to which they aspire.”

Stephen McLaughlin, described by judges as one of Scotland’s unsung heroes, joined Fairlie when his Gleneagles restaurant opened in 2001 and has held the position of Head Chef since 2006. 

Neil Thomson added: “Stephen has worked quietly behind the scenes to uphold the  restaurant’s worldwide reputation. His continuous innovations and constant adherence to the highest standards have helped make possible the retention of two Michelin Stars for well over 10 years.”

Other finalists in the Chef of the Year category included Tim Dover of The Roost Restaurant at Bridge of Earn near Perth and Stewart Macauly of The Adamson in St Andrews.

Edinburgh’s Cafe St Honore, owned by former CIS Chef of the Year Neil Forbes, won Restaurant of the Year ahead of Brian Maule at Le Chardon d’Or, Glasgow, and Wedgwood the Restaurant, Edinburgh.

Judges praised Cafe St Honore’s creative menu and commented: “The use of ingredients, cooked simply but full of flavour, made it a stand-out establishment. We were particularly pleased that the team were mainly all long-serving members, which spoke volumes about the care and attention given to them as well as their clientele.”

Best Restaurant Newcomer went to another 2016 runner-up, Firebrick Brasserie in Lauder, which claims 60% of its suppliers come from within a 25-mile radius. Other finalists included Norn in Edinburgh’s Henderson Street and the Tayberry at Broughty Ferry, Fife, run by last year’s Young Chef of the Year, Adam Newth.

Jamie McKinnon of the Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews won the Young Chef of the Year title, just two months after taking the same award at ScotHot, Scotland’s biggest food, drink, hospitality and tourism trade show. Judges said: “He has the potential to be one of Scotland’s finest chefs.”

Twice a runner-up in the category, the current BBC TV Masterchef: The Professionals champion Gary Maclean won Hospitality Educator of the Year. He is Senior Chef Lecturer at City of Glasgow College.

Best Independent Hotel went to the six-bedroom Windlestraw at Walkerburn, between Peebles and Galashiels. Built in 1906 as a wedding gift for the future wife of Scottish cashmere mill owner John King Ballantyne, the hotel only opened in 2015 and beat least year’s winner The Torridon in Wester Ross. The 16-bedroom Grade 2 listed Ardanaiseig, located on the banks of Loch Awe near Taynuilt and owned by a London antiques dealer, also made the shortlist.

Greywalls, situated near Muirfield golf course at Gullane in East Lothian, was named Best Group Hotel. Designed by Edwin Lutyens, it is run by Inverlochy Castle Management International and features a restaurant under the guidance of culinary legend Michel Roux senior. Judges praised its ‘truly magical setting’ and ‘exceptional staff. Other finalists in this category were the Crowne Plaza Glasgow and Skeabost House near Portree on Skye, one of three boutique hotels on the island owned and run by Anne and Ken Gunn.

The Pub Excellence Award went to Bennet’s/La Petite Mort along from Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre. Two years ago, the bar’s owners turned the theatre’s former green room into a restaurant. Runners-up in this category included 2012 winner the Bridge Inn at Ratho and Uisge in the Perthshire village of Murthly.

The catering manager at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Laura Amos of Ampersand Catering, was presented with the Employee of the Year Award. Afternoon tea sales at the venue soared by 400% over the previous year and visitor numbers increased by 30,000.

As Scotland’s annual competition combining the catering, hospitality and tourism industries, the CIS Excellence Awards are seen as the ultimate accolade for Scottish hotels, restaurants, gastro pubs, related organisations and chefs.

Advisory Board members include Stephen Carter OBE, James Thomson OBE, The Scottish Food Guide’s Wendy Barrie and Scottish Federation of Chefs’ President Kevin MacGillivray.

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